Staff News

A Unique College Background

ReedKelsey-orig-size-128x170Kelsey Reed, Head Structural Administrative Assistant –    My college experience was quite a bit different than my fellow Martin/Martin employees. While most boast impressive diplomas in engineering, I have a Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs, Chinese, and Asian Studies. How did I end up with three different majors that mostly focused around one foreign country? I am still not really sure, but it did result in a unique perspective of the world.

It all started way back my freshman year of high school. We all had to choose a foreign language to take. That was also the same year that Mandarin was offered as an option. While most of my friends took the sane route by enrolling in Spanish, I thought it would be a great idea to take up Chinese. At this point in my life, my only knowledge of China was that I could maybe locate it on a map. (It is in Asia, right?) Learning Chinese is exactly how you think it would be: difficult. Whereas my friends were starting to conjugate verbs in Spanish class, we were just beginning to say “Hello.” (你好!). I still commend my high school Chinese teacher and her patience for teaching beginning Chinese to a bunch of suburban adolescents.

My insanity did not stop. Four years of Chinese later and I decide to continue my Chinese language studies in college to compliment my major in International Affairs. Two majors also seemed so mundane, so I decided to add on one more major with Asian Studies. The best college experience was studying abroad in Shanghai, China after my junior year. I embarrassed myself many times struggling to communicate and realized that seven years of studying Mandarin was not nearly enough to consider myself fluent. My attention turned away from language study to the policy side where I found an interest in Chinese employment law.

Kelsey-Reed-5-x6Now how did I get from a focus on China to working at an engineering firm? I admit there is a slight disconnect, but I compare my experience with Martin/Martin thus far as similar to learning Chinese. There is a slight level of insanity and it is challenging overall; however, it’s also rewarding and highly gratifying. I am very grateful to work for such a great company coming out of college, and I look forward to my future here. And who knows when Martin/Martin is opening a branch in China?